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Universal Evolution Plan Approved by L.A. City Council

The plan, which went through years of public hearings, is projected to bring $1.6 billion and tens of thousands of jobs to the local economy.

The NBC Universal Evolution Plan that will bring more buildings and two 500-room hotels to the Universal Studios back lot, was approved unanimously by the Los Angeles City Council on Friday.

The plan is projected to bring $1.6 billion and tens of thousands of jobs to the local economy. 

The plan went through years of public hearings and eventual acceptance by all the neighborhood groups in the area, including all the Neighborhood Councils most affected by the expansion in Studio City, Toluca Lake, Sherman Oaks, the Hollywood Hills and Cahuenga Pass. Original plans for 3,000 residences and retail outlets were scrapped by Universal after local groups protested.

Universal officials said that even though they eliminated the housing portion, they have committed to spending $100 million in traffic improvements in the area, including a new freeway off-ramp, street widening and more. Universal will also spend more than $3 million in improvements and greenway development on the Los Angeles River and bikeway.

That commitment also includes $300,000 for community improvements specific to Studio City and North Hollywood, including traffic mitigation measures and plans for neighborhood beautification.  

"Modernizing and expanding production facilities will help ensure that Los Angeles remains the leader in film and television production,” Councilman Paul Krekorian said in a press release. “This project will create 30,000 good-paying jobs, provide $1.6 billion in economic investments, and deliver $100 million in transportation and transit improvements, of which nearly $40 million will be in my council district.

"The Evolution Plan truly has evolved, and it has become a win-win project that I'm proud to support," Krekorian said. "This is a good example of how a developer of even the largest of projects can work with a community instead of trying to steamroll over a community, for the mutual best interests of both the project and the residents."

Krekorian, who had long pushed to keep the movie industry local, said the expansion will help keep more production local, open the door to new jobs and help Los Angeles realize a much-needed infusion of economic activity and new revenues.

Krekorian, Councilman Tom LaBonge and county Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky were key figures in negotiating between Universal and the area's residents.

"NBCUniversal is an economic engine for the San Fernando Valley and the entire Los Angeles region," LaBonge said in a press release. "I want to thank NBCUniversal for transforming its plan to focus on what it does best: tourism, entertainment, movies, and television. This was the right plan at the right time."

The plan will now go before Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. LaBonge's Fourth District includes a small portion of NBCUniversal's property that lies in the city of Los Angeles, while the rest of Universal's property lies on county land.

Frank Mihelcic November 18, 2012 at 02:28 AM
thank you for adding images for this article. To clarify,you included the image of a plaza with orange unbrellas. That shows the housing part that was eliminated.
Mike Szymanski November 19, 2012 at 12:30 AM
OK, we took those artist renderings out, and you can still see them on past articles we did on the Universal Evolution Plan.
erika wain decker November 20, 2012 at 01:04 AM
and just where is the freeway entrace/exit going to be? and what street is being widened? and don't tell me that the last 'rendering' is at the base of Forest Lawn and Barham blvd/ SMOKE HOUSE? Please don't - and where oh where is the park with dogs and children lulllling around?

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